The HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) is one of the most attracting targets for the development of early phase infection inhibitors.
Although many RT inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, they all target the polymerase function of
this enzyme. So far, no drugs are available for the inhibition of the RT associated ribonuclease H function (RNase H), which plays an essential
role in the HIV replication cycle. Moreover it should be reported that many of the known RT inhibitors, targeting the polymerase
function, enhance the RNase H activity, indicating that, although spatially distinct, a close relation occurs between the two functions. The
aim of this review is to summarise the efforts in the design of new inhibitors either characterized by a novel mechanism of action or capable
of blocking both RT associated functions, as well as pointing out the main binding features of the known RT inhibitors.